Your cardiovascular system works constantly to keep your body functioning. The heart pumps blood, which carries oxygen and nutrients to tissues throughout the body. After a good workout, not only will your muscles thank you, but so will your entire cardiovascular system including your heart.
Physical exercise has been shown to have a strong effect when it comes to the protecting the body’s cardiovascular system1. It has also been shown to help improve conditions such as high blood pressure, lipid imbalances, weight concerns, insulin and glucose regulation, as well as help decrease both morbidity and mortality.1 Physical activity can help improve physical fitness, strength and mental fortitude.2
Currently, very few adolescents, as well as adults meet the recommended levels of physical activity.3 Physical inactivity is the fourth-leading cause of death worldwide and the World Health Organization estimated that around 80% of non-communicable diseases could be prevented if four key lifestyle practices are followed: a healthy diet, being physically active, avoidance of tobacco, and alcohol intake in moderation.3
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week for adults aged between 18-64 years of age.2 Moderate intensity physical activities will cause you to sweat a little and to breathe harder, and include activities such as a brisk walk and bike riding. More vigorous intensity activities will cause you to sweat and ‘be out of breath’, and include activities such as jogging and cross country skiing.2 The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology also recommends adding muscle and bone strengthening activities at least twice per week.2
Getting started has never been simpler. You do not need expensive gym memberships to be active. All you need to do is pick a time, pick a place, make a plan and start moving! Examples of what you can do to be more active can be found below:
- Join community exercise classes such as yoga or dance
- Walk or bike to work
- Go for a walk after dinner
- Have walk meetings instead of sitting down
- Park further and walk the extra distance
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Perform chores around the house such as cleaning and raking the lawn
- Try our Fit-in-15 program to help fit physical activities into your lifestyle
- Download the Straighten Up Canada app for easy-to-follow video exercises
Note: Before starting a physical activity program, speak to your healthcare provider first to discuss what is right for you.
- Oudegeest-Sander, M., Thijssen, D., Smits, P., van Dijk, A., Rikkert, M., & Hopman, M. (2015). Association of Fitness Level with Cardiovascular Risk and Vascular Function in Older Nonexercising Individuals. Journal Of Aging And Physical Activity, 23(3), 417-424.
- Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Available at: http://www.csep.ca/CMFIles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelines_adults_en.pdf.
- Hivert, M., Arena, R., Forman, D., Kris-Etherton, P., McBride, P., & Pate, R. et al. (2016). Medical Training to Achieve Competency in Lifestyle Counseling: An Essential Foundation for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases and Other Chronic Medical Conditions: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 134(15), e308-e327.